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Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem
10 Shafat Road, Jerusalem | Telefax: (+972) 02-532-4510 | domarisociety@gmail.com 

Products: Handmade jewelry, embroidered crafts 
Beneficiaries: 10 women from Domari (Gypsy) community in East Jerusalem

 

The Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem is the only organization in Palestine dedicated to the empowerment of the Domari (gypsy) people, founded in 1999 in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Domari people in the Middle East and North Africa arrived in the region after their exodus from India in several migratory waves.  In Palestine, small communities of Domari can be found across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  In Jerusalem, the Domari people settled inside the Old City, in the Bab al-Hutta neighborhood near the Lion's Gate.

Through centuries of their presence in the region, the Domari people have grown their roots and largely assimilated in the mainstream Palestinian culture.  The Domaris today are Muslims and speak the Arabic language.  Although the nomadic lifestyle and the Domari language have largely been forgotten, Domari's identity can still be found in their customs, food, and handicrafts. 

Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem works at the grassroots level to serve the social, cultural, and educational needs of this minority community, which has long suffered from discrimination, neglect, poverty, and adult illiteracy, as seen in their counterparts in Europe.  Focusing on women and children, the Domari Society provides tutorial services for school children, vocational training for women, and literacy courses for adults. 

Domari began its partnership with Sunbula in the fall of 2008 through the product development training offered by Sunbula to the women artisans.  Their crafts are a unique blend of local Palestinian culture and Domari's vibrant heritage.